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Senate trial on impeached judge to begin

By the CNN Wire Staff
Judge G. Thomas Porteous Jr. is accused of corruption, accepting kickbacks and lying to the Senate and FBI.
Judge G. Thomas Porteous Jr. is accused of corruption, accepting kickbacks and lying to the Senate and FBI.
STORY HIGHLIGHTS
  • Federal Judge G. Thomas Porteous Jr. of Louisiana was impeached by the House
  • Porteous is accused of accepting kickbacks and lying to the FBI
  • He could become the first judge ousted by the Senate since 1989
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Washington (CNN) -- The U.S. Senate on Tuesday will begin deciding whether to oust a federal judge, G. Thomas Porteous Jr. of Louisiana, who was impeached by the House earlier this year on corruption charges.

Porteous, from the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Louisiana, is accused of corruption and accepting kickbacks, as well as lying to the Senate and FBI about his past, regarding his nomination to the federal bench.

In March, the House of Representatives voted unanimously to impeach Porteous, making him the nation's 15th federal judge ever impeached.

Last year, the House Judiciary Committee Task Force on Judicial Impeachment held evidentiary hearings that led to unanimous approval of the four articles of impeachment.

"Our investigation found that Judge Porteous participated in a pattern of corrupt conduct for years," U.S. Rep. Adam Schiff, D-California, chairman of the House Judiciary Committee Task Force on Judicial Impeachment, said in March.

In a statement at the time, Porteous' lawyer, Richard W. Westling, said the Justice Department had decided not to prosecute because it did not have credible evidence.

"Unfortunately, the House has decided to disregard the Justice Department's decision and to move forward with impeachment," he said. "As a result, we will now turn to the Senate to seek a full and fair hearing of all of the evidence."

Porteous, who turns 64 this year, was appointed to the federal bench in 1994. He has not worked as a judge since he was suspended with pay in the fall of 2008, Westling said.

The most recent previous impeachment of a federal judge by the House was last year. Judge Samuel B. Kent of the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of Texas resigned after being impeached on charges of sexual assault, obstructing and impeding an official proceeding and making false and misleading statements, according to the website of the Federal Judicial Center.

Before then, Judge Walter L. Nixon of U.S. District Court for the Southern District of Mississippi was impeached in 1989 on charges of perjury before a federal grand jury. The Senate convicted him and removed him from office that year.

 
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